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Tony Finau hopes for another Mexico spark after overpowering Jon Rahm for title

Before arriving at Vidanta for last year’s Mexico Open, Tony Finau was struggling, without a top-25 finish in 10 starts. But Finau unlocked something in Vallarta that week, tying for second, one shot back of winner Jon Rahm.

“This tournament propelled me I think into the season that I had last year,” said Finau, who then went on to notch six more top-10 finishes, including a pair of victories. “This was the first high finish that I had all season in my season last year. I was playing not very good golf, and then I make a run on Sunday, and after that I played great golf throughout the rest of the season.

“To get this win was huge and hopefully propels me to do more great things as the season unfolds.”

After Sunday’s victory in Finau’s return to the Mexico Open, in which Finau outdueled Rahm to shoot 24 under and win his sixth career PGA Tour title by three shots, Finau is hoping for a similar springboard.

This time, though, the launching point is much higher. In 10 previous starts this year, Finau cracked the top 25 eight times. And though he’s got just two top-10s, his worst finish of the year is a T-31 at the RBC Heritage.

Finau knew he’d play well at Vidanta, where he can “send my driver and get a short iron in my hand compared to guys that are hitting longer irons.” But overpowering the red-hot Rahm, who just a few weeks ago won the Masters for a fourth win of the year?

Full-field scores from the Mexico Open at Vidanta

That’s an extra boost of confidence for a guy who has 10 career top-10s in majors, yet none in his past seven major starts.

“Anytime you can battle with a guy like Jon Rahm, who’s in the form that he was, and come out on top, it makes me feel good,” Finau said. “Rahm is a good friend of mine, we practice quite a bit together, so having Rahmbo as like a sparring partner for me has only made me better and I hope he can say the same.

“As far as my future, you never know what your future holds, but take it a day at a time and this is a nice step in the right direction on my season. We’ll just continue to stack up hopefully some wins and some major championships in the future.”